Policy Details

Date of Last Update

Approved By
  • University Academic Senate / Provost

Responsible Office
Provost Office


Print Policy
Export Policy As PDF

Faculty Academic Policies - Curriculum

SG 2.01

  1. Policy Statement
  2. History

Policy Statement

A.    University Curriculum Committee Procedures and Policies for Curriculum Development and Review

1.  College Curriculum Committees (CCC) and the University Curriculum Committee (UCC) conduct their business during the regular academic year.   Course and program proposals may be submitted via the online curriculum development system at any time during the academic year.  Proposals intended for publication in the next edition of the Catalog should be submitted as soon as possible to allow time for review and any revisions.

2.  Curriculum development is the responsibility of regular faculty.  Adjunct faculty (as defined in Board of Trustees' Policies BOT 4.3.0) are encouraged to participate in unit-level discussions of curricular actions, but are not responsible for curricular proposals.  Visiting instructors and part-time adjunct instructors may not author curriculum proposals.  Affiliate faculty may author curriculum proposals with unit level approval.

3.  The Graduate Council Curriculum Committee will review and approve or not approve all graduate-related proposals in a manner similar to the review that the General Education Committee (GEC) conducts for all General Education issues.  After approval by the GCC and/or the Graduate Council, UCC will review the proposal.

4.  If a curricular proposal involves significant budgetary implications, UCC may consult with the Faculty Salary and Budget Committee (FSBC) for their assessment of the proposed budget impact.

5.  Proposals which move the required hours of the major above or below the stated ranges of the various degrees will require strong justification.

6.  Appeals of GEC decisions should be made to UCC. 

B.     UCC Curricular Procedures

All curriculum proposals require action by UCC prior to approval by the Provost. Curriculum proposals undergo review by several groups or individuals before final approval.  Possible reviewers include the Library, Information Technology, Graduate Council, Online Education Council, Unit Head, College Curriculum Committee, Academic Dean, Graduate Dean, General Education Committee, University Curriculum Committee, and the Provost.  The precise set of review steps through the online curriculum system is determined by the curricular action being proposed.  In general, simple proposals require less review than more complex proposals.  A complete list of curricular actions and their pathways can be found on the University Curriculum Committee page under Curriculum Development Information.

1.  All new course proposals, program change proposals, and changes to existing courses except spelling, grammar, and punctuation changes must be submitted via the online curriculum development system. The online system is linked from the Faculty Governance Website: www.gvsu.edu/sail/.

2.  The agenda for UCC meetings is posted weekly on the Faculty Governance website.  All curricular review actions taken are available in the online curriculum system.

3.  After a course change proposal arrives for review at UCC it will be handled in the following manner.  If the course is a prerequisite for another college, the course change proposal will be reviewed by UCC.  If it is not a prerequisite for a course in another college or required by another college, and at least 30 days have elapsed since the proposal was approved by the unit of origin, then the course change proposal will be automatically approved by UCC at its next regular meeting and forwarded to the Provost for approval.  Until that approval is given, any faculty member can request the UCC to review a course change proposal.

4.  Proposals that are approved by the UCC will be sent to the Provost for final approval. The Provost will notify the submitting unit if final approval is granted and will send the proposal to the Registrar for inclusion in the master course list. A proposal is not approved until this last step is taken.

5.  If a proposal is rejected, the submitting unit is responsible for resubmitting the proposal. Appeals of CCC decisions should be made to the appropriate dean. Appeals of the UCC decisions should be made to the Provost.

6.  In extraordinary cases, a non-renewable, one year interim approval category exists. Proposals should be submitted to the Chair of UCC. A decision will be made jointly by the Chair of the UCC and the Provost. These proposals must go through the normal curriculum review process for continued offering.

C.   Honors Designation in Majors and Minors (added Fall 2013)

1.  An Honors designation is intended to convey the fact that a program is distinguished from an existing program by its rigor, student engagement, or research, and may not be suitable for all students.  Students in an Honors-designated program do not have to belong to the Honors Program or the Honors College.  An Honors-designated program serves students within an academic program, whether or not those students are part of the Honors College or Honors Program.

2.  Units complete a Program Change Request providing a rationale for creating the Honors-designation, how that designation would be implemented within the program (e.g., a track within a minor), and applicable admission and academic performance standards.  The Program Change Request will then be sent to the Honors College for review using the standards already established by the Honors program.  If supported, the Director of the Honors College will provide a letter of support to be attached to the Program Change Request after which the proposal will follow the normal curricular review process.

3.  An honors track or emphasis in a major or minor must have between 6 and 12 credit hours, depending on how the courses are constituted.  These credit hours can be constructed in a variety of ways as determined by the department and in consultation with the Honors College (e.g., one-credit-hour seminars linked to non-Honors­ designated courses, such as capstones).

•  Note: the 6-12 hours of Honors in the major cannot include Honors Foundations courses.

4.  Courses must follow the parameters set forth in Meijer Honors College Guidelines for Honors Courses.

5.  It is preferable that the Honors-designated courses have an internal connection with one another and/or explicitly build on other classes in the major or minor.

6.  Honors-designated programs will be periodically reviewed by the Honors College at the normally scheduled time for program assessment.  The program will submit a report to the Honors College with evidence that the program is meeting the original objectives agreed upon when then Honors designation was approved.  If the program is found to be deficient, it will be put on a one-year probationary period, and will work collaboratively with the Honors College to address concerns and deficiencies. The Honors College will give full approval if the issues are successfully addressed. Otherwise, the Honors designation will be removed from the program.

D.   Hybrid and Online Curriculum Proposals

1.   The following procedures will be followed for the inclusion of online and hybrid courses in the curriculum:

a.   If the content of a course is unchanged, and the request is to change solely the delivery of an existing course to an online or hybrid format, the faculty member and involved unit head will seek recommendation only from the Online Education Council, the Dean of the submitting unit, and the Provost’s Office.  If the Council recommends for non-approval, the proposer may contact the Assistant Vice-President for Academic Affairs with curriculum duties.

b.   If the course/program is new in content and proposes an online or hybrid format, or if an existing program seeks to change to a fully online program, the current curricular procedures must be followed, with the addition of seeking the recommendation of the Online Education Council via the online curricular system.

E.    Course Proposals

1.  Units should be sensitive to the cost and space implications, as well as staffing needs of a course proposal. The Curriculum Resource Statement attached to course proposals should be given careful consideration and completed accurately. Proposals that require additional staff, equipment, space, supplies that have not been committed for by the appropriate administrative offices may be rejected.

2.  Units should be sensitive to the impact that new courses, dropped courses, or course changes have on other courses and other programs. The Course Change Proposal and the New Course Proposal require that all units possibly affected by the proposal be notified before it is submitted to the CCC. The unit heads of the affected units should respond in writing, even if they see no problems with the proposal. The CCCs will judge overlap/duplication within a college. Although no rigid formula or guidelines can be set for this, CCCs are advised to take a conservative approach. If significant overlap is found between a proposed course and existing courses, the proposed course or course change should be rejected.

3.  Uniform Course Numbering System (Approved 4/14/06 by UAS)

a.   Refer to the Uniform Course Numbering Guidelines table.

b.   Reserved Undergraduate Course Numbers:

For the four categories listed below, these numbers are reserved for exclusive use for the purposes designated. A unit may not use these numbers for any other courses. A unit may, if it has compelling reasons, choose to list one of these courses with a number other than one of the reserved numbers, or may use additional numbers for these courses (a two-semester internship, for example, would require another number besides 490).

i.  The numbers 180, 280, 380 and 480 are reserved for use only as a special topics course.

ii. The numbers 399 and 499 are reserved for use only as independent study and research courses.

iii. The number 490 is reserved for use only as an internship or practicum course.

iv.  The number 495 is reserved for use only as a Capstone course.

300- and 400-level courses should be justified by 100- and 200-level prerequisites or a course content/approach that clearly indicates it is not a beginning level course.

c.  Reserved Graduate Course Numbers:

The following graduate-level course numbers listed below are reserved for the purposes indicated:

i.    The numbers 680 and 780 are to be used for graduate special topics courses.

ii.   The numbers 690 and 790 are to be used for graduate research preparation courses.

iii.  The numbers 693 and 793 are to be used for graduate project courses.

iv.  The numbers 695 and 795 are to be used for graduate thesis/dissertation courses.

v.   The numbers 696 and 796 are to be used for graduate thesis/dissertation continuous enrollment courses

vi. The numbers 699 and 799 are to be used for graduate independent study courses.

4.   Special Topics Course Policies

a.     A special topics course is intended to allow a unit to offer a course on a topic that is not covered in a regular course in any program at GVSU.

b.     A special topics course may be offered for various reasons. For example a new visiting faculty bringing new expertise to a unit, student interest in a topic increasing enough to temporarily offer a course on a topic, a unit wishing to pilot test a reconfiguration of an existing course, a unit wanting to judge the potential interest in a given topic before proposing a new course.

c.     A unit may offer a given special topic a maximum of 3 times. If a unit wishes to schedule the topic for the third time, then it must create and submit a New Course Proposal in the online curriculum development system concurrent with the third offering.

5.   Syllabus of Record

A syllabus of record must be attached to new course and course change proposals. A syllabus of record (SOR) is the official record of minimum course content – that is, content that must be present in every section of a course. In essence, it describes a department’s vision of what should be taught, and (to a lesser extent) how it should be taught. Although all SOR must contain certain items of information (noted below), some of them will be more detailed than others, depending on the course. For example, if a course needs a high degree of flexibility in its various offerings, then the SOR might be somewhat vague. If another course needs to meet rigid accreditation standards, then the SOR might be extremely detailed.  A detailed description of the requirements for an SOR can be found on UCC’s website.

The SOR serves four audiences. (1) Faculty can use the SOR as a blueprint for designing course syllabi. Faculty are free to add to the content in the SOR, but the activities, objectives, and methods of evaluation in the SOR must be maintained. (2) Students can use the SOR to determine, before they register, the skills they can expect to achieve upon successful completion of a course. (3) The SOR provides a standard format that other schools can use to determine transfer credit. (4) Faculty governance committees use the SOR when evaluating course-change and new course proposals.

6.   Course Grades

The Academic Policies and Regulations section of the catalog describes various grade types available for a course.  Unless otherwise noted below, all courses are graded with a letter grade A through F, and I (Incomplete). In addition, students may choose to permanently withdraw from a course (resulting in a W (Withdrawal) grade), or to audit a course (resulting in an AU (Audit) grade).

Units that want to assign the grade types Credit (CR), No Credit (NC), or Deferred (X) must seek approval through the curriculum review process.

The grades P (Pass), PD (Pass with Distinction), W (Withdrawal) and NC (No Credit) are the only grades that may be assigned as the final grade for a graduate thesis or dissertation.

The grade of R (Research) is the only grade that may be assigned each semester to a continuous enrollment course for a graduate thesis or dissertation (xxx-696, xxx-796).


January 7, 2019 - FH 2.04 A-F Retitled SG 2.01

June 4, 2018 - FH 2.04: Move paragraph in B to beginning of C, change C to B, etc.

February 15, 2017 - FH 2.04.B "Index of Curriculum Procedures" amended